Texas Senate race proves historic

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Texas Senate race proves historic

Nicole Revilla, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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The midterms elections on Tuesday, November 6th, kept the whole country on edge, however one specific race was closely watched as it defied many odds: the Texas race for senator.

The Texas Senate race between Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D) and Incumbent Ted Cruz (R) gained national attention as the race got too close to call when votes began coming in.

O’Rourke lost a tight race to Ted Cruz, with O’Rourke pulling in 48.3% of votes, and Ted Cruz 50.9% of votes.

The race was shocking to say the least, Texas is usually known as a “dark red state”.

Lower on the ballot, Democrats picked up several seats in the U.S. House, unseating U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, Republican of Dallas and U.S. Rep. John Culberson, Republican of Houston.    

The wins inch Texas’ congressional delegation toward the center, further shifting the partisan split in Congress.

The race was so tight that many news outlets mistakenly labeled O’Rourke as the projected winner due to his win during the first half of the vote counting.

In 2016, a presidential election year, nearly nine million Texans showed up to the polls.

Midterm years tend to have far lower turnout — in 2014, for example, just 4.6 million Texans voted.

However, this year Texas, as well as the nation as a whole, defied that trend.

According to the Texas Tribune,  With some precincts still reporting early Wednesday morning, turnout had topped eight million, historically high for a midterm election in Texas.

By the end of early voting on November 2nd,, turnout in the 30 Texas counties that house 78 percent of the state’s registered voters had already surpassed turnout from the 2012 presidential election.

Photo Courtesy of the New York Times

   One of the main differences seen this midterms, despite historic numbers, is the record turnout among youth voters.

In 2014, in the last midterm elections, fewer than one in five 18-29 year olds voted in November according to a study conducted by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

Young adults have reportedly had the worst turnout among all age groups, with the youth making up the lowest percentage of early voters.

During the early stages of vote counting, O’Rourke held a 3% advantage over Incumbent Ted Cruz.

Even with O’Rourke’s loss, a single digit race in a state as red as Texas is enough to make Republicans nervous.

O’Rourke’s defeat could have a ripple effects throughout the nation, in the wake of his loss, many prominent celebrities and people nationwide expressed their hope for O’Rourke to run for President in 2020.

Whether or not O’Rourke decides to run for office in 2020, he created something historic in Texas.

O’Rourke said, “I’m as inspired, I’m as hopeful as I’ve ever been in my life, and tonight’s loss does nothing to diminish the way I feel about Texas or this country,”

After his defeat, O’Rourke appeared to his supporters shortly after 10 p.m. in his hometown of El Paso and congratulated Senator Cruz on his victory, he also expressed an interest to drop partisanship and work together to do what’s best for the state of Texas.

He later stepped off the stage as John Lennon’s “Imagine” played on in the background.

Beto O’Rourke during his concession speech hours after losing to incumbent Ted Cruz. Photo courtesy of CNN.

  According to the New York Times, Ted Delisi, a Republican political consultant in Austin said, “It was political nitroglycerin from the minute this campaign started,”

“Beto O’Rourke couldn’t have run this race against John Cornyn. He couldn’t have run this race against Greg Abbott. This race had to be run against Ted Cruz, and it had to be run this year. This was the once-every-20-years opportunity.”